She probably can't remember
and I know I can never forget...
the first time I saw her like that
I was only nine years-old
not naive by any stretch
having seen my share of tragedy-
my parent's bitter battles in my first five years of life
then the inevitable end of their marriage
but not before 700 days of devastation called divorce
that destroyed dreams and deeply damaged hearts
I had no idea life could get worse...
But it did -
The day I found her passed out cold on the living room floor
I thought she was sleeping at first
In fact I swore she was just sound asleep
to my petrified little sister
whose big brown eyes screamed with fear
at the site of the lifeless body of our mommy
slobber dribbling out of the corner of her mouth
soaking her cheek below the dirt of her eye makeup
that trickled down her sallow skin on a face
devoid of any expression...
Is mommy dead?
a little voice whimpered
my sister weeped
My gut said Yeah she's dead as a doornail
Thankfully my words said No No she's not dead
as I carried my trembling, tiny sibling upstairs
and tucked her in bed with my promise
that Mommy would wake up in the morning...
as I wondered What if she didn't?
Little did I know I would wonder again and again
for the next 20 years
who I would see when I came home from school...
my real mom - you know her - the sober, sophisticated lady -
or would I find that ugly, evil spirit
lurking within my mommy's body again?
I loathed that demon who called me nasty names
and didn't cook dinner or do laundry
I wanted to murder the monster that growled at me
slurring words, throwing things and
staggering through our house...
So confused, embarassed, shocked, and dazed
by how my mommy would really be two people
But I learned early -
Never ask questions...
about anything at all
anyone - not a soul
Never complain about the awful monster
for fear that it would take my real mommy away forever
Never trust anyone or even my tomorrows...
since nobody ever knew if the evil demon would be back
Never feel anything...
because it was easier to become completely numb
than to endure the endless pain and loss day after day...
When I got older, I thought I could deal better
but looking back now I know I was wrong...
It didn't get easier, I just became paralyzed
behind the protective wall I built to be safe from her...
Nobody ever met the first boy I went on a date with
neither parent even knew his name
much less what kind of car I hopped into
or where we were supposed to be going...
Because my dad wasn't around and she was drunk
and I was ashamed, so I stood by the front door
waiting for Tommy's car to come down my street
and as soon as I saw it, I barged out the door
raced across the front porch, skipped the steps,
barely letting my feet touch the curb before
I bounced into his Chevy with my gleaming smile
that everyone knew me for -
The radiant face with the perpetually beaming smile
that I faked so often, it almost felt real...
My cheerful facade created to disguise
my actual agony and untold twisted torture
Today at 30 years-old, I have perfected my mysterious mask
as I cower behind my forced, dazzling smile
and feigned nature of blissful peace and normalcy
Nobody ever gets even a glimpse
of the real me - tormented by childhood memories
tossing and turning in my bed every night,
haunted by frantic flashes of bad dreams,
reeling in faithless feelings, lingering self-doubt, desolate disbelief, hopelessly
for explanations, answers
to my questions that haven't changed in 20 years...
But anything close to understanding
seems to escape my emotional grasp
eternally eluding my ravished, raging mind
and sense of reason and logic...
I surrended myself to a continual, compulsive scramble
through a menacing maze of misconceptions
that I perpetuate with my naive expectations
for a miracle to magically reveal a meaningful response
to my endlessly, impossible questions...
If I could just find...
A solitary reason why
my mother has continued to choose alcohol over me
for more than 25 years...
Or a single clue to explain how
I can compete for her love when
my opponent is a lifeless, speechless, emotionless
loyal bottle of vodka...
Resource Box - ? Danielle Hollister (2004) is the Publisher of BellaOnline Quotations Zine - A free newsletter for quote lovers featuring more than 10,000 quotations in dozens of categories like - love, friendship, children, inspiration, success, wisdom, family, life, and many more. Read it online at - http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art8364.asp